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What Is a Midwife?

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article by Tera Elizabeth Givens, CNM

 A certified nurse midwife, sometimes referred to as a CNM or simply a nurse midwife, is an advanced-practice registered nurse (post-baccalaureate) who specializes in women's reproductive health and childbirth. Not only do they attend to women during pregnancy, childbirth, and post-partum, they also are responsible for preventive women's health maintenance and gynecologic care. Certified nurse-midwives in Mississippi work in hospital settings. CNMs work collaboratively with physicians and this close working relationship allows for the midwife to care for patients that would otherwise risk out of traditional midwifery care.

Nurse midwives differ from physicians primarily because they are first and foremost nurses. They approach patient care with a holistic view - not only focusing on the physical needs of the patient, but the mental and psychosocial needs as well. CNMs support a wide range of birthing choices including natural child birth, epiduralized child birth, and elective and medically indicated inductions, CNMs also assist physicians in cesarean sections, so your midwife is able to be a part of your birth even when the method of delivery changes.

According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), the benefits of Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) assisted births include:

  • Lower rates of cesarean births
  • Lower rates of labor induction/augmentation
  • Significant reduction of third and fourth-degree perineal tears
  • Less use of regional anesthesia
  • Higher rates of breastfeeding
  • Additionally, women cared for by CNMs were more likely to receive:
  • Prenatal education
  • A more hands-on approach and closer relationship with their provider
  • Fewer technological and invasive interventions

From a financial standpoint, the use of CNMs in obstetric and gynecological care can reduce health care costs. This is due to:

  • An increase in access to care
  • Less invasive medical interventions required
  • Reduced number of cesarean births
  • Reduced use of pharmacological pain management interventions.

Midwifery care is a great option for many families. If you are interested in the midwifery services at SMRMC give us a call and schedule your appt today at 601-684-2300.

Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center's first Certified Nurse-Midwife
Tera Givens, CNM
The Women's Health Center
1318 Harrison Ave
McComb MS 39648